Rushed Reactions: #1 Oregon 69, #8 Saint Joseph’s 64

Posted by Kenny Ocker on March 20th, 2016

Rush the Court will be providing wall-to-wall coverage of each of the NCAA Tournament from each of the 13 sites this year. Follow our NCAA Tourney specific Twitter accounts at @RTCEastregion, @RTCMWregion,@RTCSouthregion and @RTCWestregionKenny Ocker is at the Spokane pods of the South and West regionals this week.

Three Key Takeaways.

It wasn't easy, but top-seeded Oregon is advancing to the Sweet Sixteen (Photo: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

It wasn’t easy, but top-seeded Oregon is advancing to the Sweet Sixteen (Photo: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

  1. Oregon saved the Pac-12 for another few days: The conference took a beating. Every other team lost in the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament, some in painful fashion, some in blowouts, some in both – Utah. But with a pair of clutch three-pointers from Tyler Dorsey and Dillon Brooks, the Ducks kept their title run alive and made their second Sweet Sixteen in three years with the late win Friday. Crisply run zone-busting offense generated the wide-open shots, and great shooting and execution finished them.
  2. Turnovers did in Saint Joseph’s: Hawks coach Phil Martelli told his players before the game they would win going away if they had fewer than 10 turnovers. They had 12, eight in the first half, but the two late in the second half crushed them. Papa Ndow turned down a wide-open three-pointer as the shot clock expired, passing to a teammate and committing a 30-second violation. Then, with just seconds left, DeAndre’ Bembry lost his dribble and turned the ball over at the top of the three-point line. Without those two turnovers, the Hawks’ NCAA Tournament hopes might not die.
  3. Have fun with Duke, Ducks: Here you go, one seed, you’ve made the Sweet Sixteen. And now you get to face a coach who has made 23 of them. Oregon wasn’t flustered tonight, despite going down seven late in the second half at 58-51. They made big stops, they made big shots, and it resulted in a big comeback on a big stage. It will be interesting to see how Duke’s offense, heavily reliant on the outside shooting of Brandon Ingram and Grayson Allen, interacts with Oregon’s defense, which relies on the elite interior defense of Chris Boucher and Jordan Bell. Duke lacks elite shot-blocking, which means a jump-shot-happy Oregon team should be able to succeed if it decides to go inside.

Star of the Game: Oregon forward Dillon Brooks. Brooks hit the game-sealing three-pointer, one of four he made from beyond the arc, and led all scorers with 25 points. He was also 7 of 8 from the free-throw line in what was a one-possession game for much of the second half. He’s the engine that makes the Ducks’ powerful offense go.


  • “We were proud to be in a game like that. It wasn’t pretty, especially in the first half. And that’s my fault.” Saint Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli.
  • “There’s one person that’s responsible for this loss, and that’s me.” Martelli.
  • “He played with a lot of energy and emotion. He let us know that he wasn’t going to let us lose this game.” Oregon center Jordan Bell, on Brooks’ contributions.
  • “We didn’t play well. St. Joe’s had a lot to do with that.” Oregon coach Dana Altman.

Sights and Sounds:

  • An update from Friday: Saint Joseph’s band is actually an alumni band, not a rent-a-band. We regret the error.
  • The Hawk was forced to move from behind the Saint Joe’s bench because he was blocking too many seats; he roosted with the band instead.
  • The Duck took time out of his busy schedule to flap his wings in front of the Hawk during halftime. #MascotDrama
  • Nice mock cheer from the Oregon fans after they went 10 minutes between Saint Joe’s fouls.

What’s Next? Oregon gets to go to scenic Anaheim where it will face fourth-seeded Duke on Friday. Saint Joseph’s gets to hop a midnight charter flight back to Philadelphia, where there are no marijuana shops, and wonder whether DeAndre’ Bembry will be returning to campus next season. See you next year, Rush The Court.

Kenny Ocker (29 Posts)

Kenny Ocker is a graduate of the University of Oregon and a copy editor for The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash. He has been a contributor for Rush the Court since December 2010. He can be reached via email and you can follow him on Twitter.

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